Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Torquay

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Top Five Questions relating to Torquay leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in Torquay.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is pay the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Torquay. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

I work for a long established estate agency in Torquay where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Torquay conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the purchaser.

What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Torquay conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Torquay conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Torquay conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • How many lease extensions has the firm conducted in Torquay in the last 12 months?

  • What makes a Torquay lease unacceptable for security purposes?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Torquay is not unique. All leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You may have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, Chelsea Building Society, and Aldermore all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

    Torquay Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to buying

      Is the freehold owned jointly by the leaseholders? Who are the managing agents? Generally speaking the outlay for major works are not included within maintenance charges, although a few managing agents in Torquay obliged leasehold owners to pay into a reserve fund and this is used to offset against larger works.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Torquay